Peter Redshaw and Jay Wolstenholme here. One area that seemed to be making modest progress, up until the financial services crisis became more severe, was around the purchase and use of Business Process Management (BPM) tools and techniques. For years, the BPM team at Gartner and others have been preaching about the need to be more strategic, adventurous and innovative in their deployment. But mostly those cries fell on deaf ears and banks continued to use BPM as a point solution for making minor improvements in workflow and exception processing. Basically doing what they had always done, only a little bit slicker.
Back in 2007, though, it looked like maybe the tide was beginning to turn and banks might start actually re-engineering some of their processes and using BPM as a strategic advantage and competitive differentiator. But, that light at the end of the tunnel seems to have been extinguished now. Not forever, but certainly for a few months and maybe years.
What CIOs at banks will be looking for now (and the only thing they’ll get/give signed off funding for) is quick savings. So – disappointingly – it looks like a return to the old focus on straight-through processing (STP) and raising automation levels in the middle and back office. This reinforces their clear focus on cost savings – identifying where banks can they use fewer staff and get more accuracy, thereby raising fewer exceptions that need manual handling.
So, BPM will be focused on internal operations, e.g., the stuff that the bank does entirely within its own firewalls, and on tying this to an event-driven architecture. For inter-bank operations, they’ll be waiting for utilities to spring up, e.g. from the DTCC.
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